As smartphones and mobile technologies progress, those iconic red phone boxes once scattered throughout Britain are becoming much less practical. While some are simply being sent to the dump, others are being converted for more useful applications.
We have already seen some of the remaining red boxes get turned into free public WiFi hotspots and now the first Solarbox conversion has been unveiled. With a fresh new coat of green paint, Solarbox has its first new public charging station up and running on Tottenham Court Road in London.
The new charging stations are outfitted with 86cm solar panels on top, offering free charges for tourists and citizens. Open from 5:30am until they are locked at 11:30 at night, the Solarbox stations can charge up to 100 phones a day and offer about a 20% battery boost in 10 minutes. Inside, users will find a series of different charging connections for various phone models as well as a screen that displays ads while you’re waiting. While around 30% off the ad space is reserved for community projects, companies like Tinder and Uber are said to be among those interested.
According to Solarbox, about six people have used the box per hour since it was launched. Reports say five more Solarbox charging stations are expected to roll out by April 2015.